In 2005, I started to cut a trail at Glen Villa; that trail became Timelines, the walk through fields and forests where art installations explore ideas about history, memory and our relationship to the land. I’ve written about this trail in many blog posts; I wrote about Continuum, one part of the trail, in two posts last fall. (You can find those posts here and here.)
This large rock outcropping is what prompted me to first begin thinking about how to give voice to the land and the ideas and emotions it evoked. When I noticed it many years ago, I thought it was worth emphasizing in some way. But the trees in front screened it from full view.
We cut and chipped the trees, but even the clearer space didn’t inspire an idea. Last summer, we dug down to expose more of the rock face and the small hole we dug began to fill with water.
We enlarged and shaped a pool, creating a spot that was peaceful and quite beautiful.
Above the pool we placed rocks that outlined maple keys, one step in the process of establishing Continuum’s theme of beginnings, ends and re-beginnings.
Over the winter I drilled the same maple key pattern into large boulders. One went into place along the trail that leads to the pool, a hint at what was to come.
Two weeks ago, the other drilled rocks went into place on the bank beside the pool.
With all the digging and the moving of dirt, the natural vegetation that once surrounded the pool had died back. Earlier this month, only bare soil was visible.
Not any longer.
Jacques and Ken, the two wonderful men I work with, brought in some good soil from the large piles we accumulated when our big pond was dredged a few years ago. They added a wood chip path that leads around the pool and into the woods and positioned more rocks near the pool to provide places to sit.
With the rocks and path in place, it was time to seed the ground. To my delight, rain came just on time and the area is greening up very quickly. We transplanted some ferns which I expect will spread, grouping some around the drilled rocks to make them look more natural.
Continuum is almost finished. The sign announcing this section of Timelines is in place in the field where it begins.
A walking path leads from the pool to the rocky road that was already there. All that remains is the finale of the section, to be called The Group of Seven. We started on that section in the spring, digging and planting some maple saplings.
Finishing up entails work that only I can do — and there is a lot of it. I hope to find time to do the painting and the collage over the summer but the work will probably extend into the fall. And will Timelines then be complete? I doubt it — the land always has more to say.
OPEN GARDEN DAYS
Many people have asked whether we will be opening Glen Villa to the public this summer. The situation remains fluid but the Eastern Townships and all of Quebec are entering a green zone for Covid, which increases the likelihood that the garden will open.
We’re looking at one or possibly two days near the end of July/beginning of August and/or near the end of August and the beginning of September. I wish I could be more precise and as soon as we make a decision, I will post the dates in a blog, on Facebook and Instagram.
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